Frankie Gavin & De Dannan (IRL)

There are not many of Tønder Festival’s musicians who can boast of being pictured on a postage stamp, but Frankie Gavin is one of them. In 2008 a 55c stamp was issued featuring Gavin and the other original members of De Dannan, Alec Finn, Johnny “Ringo” McDonagh, Charlie Piggot and Dolores Keane. That says something about the influence the band has had on Irish music. In the 1970s revival of Irish dance music, when the music really took the big stages, De Dannan were among the busiest and most persistent bands. The partnership between Frankie Gavin on fiddle and Alec Finn on the Greek bouzouki set new standards for Irish music. De Dannan settled on fast melodies and beautiful ballads sung by Mary Black, Eleanor Shanley and the aforementioned Dolores Keane, among others. De Dannan has performed at Tønder Festival many times, the first was in 1985. In early 2022 Frankie Gavin fully recovered from esophageal cancer and within months a new line-up of De Dannan was on the road again. An indomitable spirit infusing all five players with the kind of fiery attack on their music that has so uniquely identified the band since the 1970s. Their only Danish festival in 2023.